address book annotation

The Shakespeare and Company Project is based on three sources from the Sylvia Beach Papers at Princeton University: lending library cards, logbooks, and address books.

In the 1930s, Sylvia Beach created two address books. The books include the names and addresses of lending library members, as well as other membership information. The books compensate for gaps and omissions in the Project’s other sources, supplying addresses for members without extant lending library cards, and first names and membership dates for members without complete logbook records.

The first address book focuses on members who joined before 1935. It includes 1,947 members and is organized alphabetically by last name. Each page has three columns: name, address, and subscription. The subscription column usually indicates when members joined the lending library and the status of their deposits. (On the book's first page, pictured above, Beach used two different abbreviations for reimbursements. For the remainder of the book, she settled on "dep. ref." and "d. ref."—deposit refunded.) Beach likely created the book in phases. Most sections begin with members who joined between 1919 and 1930, and then list members who joined between 1928 and 1935.

The first address book is incomplete. Beach stopped listing members midway through N. The M section includes 289 members; N, thirteen. The remainder of the book is blank, except for a single entry for Y: Anne Yeats. As a result, the Project has addresses for significantly more members from the first half of the alphabet than the second. The book is incomplete in other ways as well: it doesn’t include all the members in the logbooks and doesn’t always include full membership dates.

The first address book presents other challenges. Some entries cannot be definitively linked to lending library cards or logbooks. For example, the book includes a Mme Degaine at 38 rue Dombasle. (The name appears as "Degains" in the address book, but research reveals that the address was the home of an Édouard Degaine.) Is this Mme Degaine the Mme Dégaine, who joined the lending library on December 15, 1919, or the Mme Degaine, who joined (or re-joined) on November 7, 1921? Are they all the same person? The Project cannot be sure: the address book doesn’t include membership dates for Degains. Accordingly, the Project keeps the members separate.

The second address book focuses on members who joined between 1935 and 1937, and includes 251 members. It is also organized alphabetically, but includes two additional columns: volume and period. Volume indicates how many items a member could borrow at a time and period indicates the duration of the membership. The second address book is comparatively complete, although it doesn't include all the members in the logbooks.

The address books are the sole source for information about 349 members. Most of these members were active during gaps in logbook coverage—in the early 1930s and in 1937. Others were given free memberships and not recorded in the logbooks. The photographer Berenice Abbott is one example; Jane Heap, the editor of The Little Review, is another. Heap’s listing doesn't include a date, and thus the Project doesn't know when she was a member. (She lived in Paris between 1925 and 1935.) When the address books are the sole source for information about a member, the Project includes a note on the member’s biography page.

The Project makes the address books available via a digital exhibition hosted by Princeton University Library and as PDFs on Google Drive.

Cite this document

“Address Books.” Shakespeare and Company Project, version 1.6.1. Center for Digital Humanities, Princeton University. September 22, 2020. Accessed June 25, 2024.